It’s been proven over the last few years that using smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even televisions before bed can negatively impact your sleep. The blue light emitted by the screens tells your brain that it’s time to wake up, when in fact it’s actually time to sleep. However, a new study is showing that plenty of light during the day can counteract that effect.
In the small study from Uppsala University in Sweden, researchers sought to investigate the effects of evening reading on a tablet computer on sleep following daytime bright light exposure. The findings are published in the scientific journal Sleep Medicine.
The study, which included 28 young subjects, split evenly between males and females, involved exposure to daytime bright light and then evening use of a tablet for two hours. What they found was that, so long as there was plenty of daytime light exposure, the tablet use did not affect sleep.
‘Our results could suggest that light exposure during the day, e.g. by means of outdoor activities or light interventions in offices, may help combat sleep disturbances associated with evening blue light stimulation,” said Frida Rångtell, first author and PhD student at the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University.
However, all of this does not give people a complete green light to use screens before bed, even if they do spend a lot of time outside during the day.
“Even if not examined in our study, it must however be kept in mind that utilizing electronic devices for the sake of checking your work e-mails or social network accounts before snoozing may lead to sleep disturbances as a result of emotional arousal’, says senior author Christian Benedict, associate professor at the Department of Neuroscience.